West Bancorporation, Inc. (Nasdaq: WTBA; the “Company”), parent company of West Bank, today reported 2019 net income of $28.7 million, or $1.74 per diluted common share, compared to 2018 net income of $28.5 million, or $1.74 per diluted common share. Net income for the fourth quarter of 2019 was $7.6 million, or $0.46 per diluted common share. This compares to fourth quarter 2018 net income of $7.2 million, or $0.44 per diluted common share. On January 22, 2020, the Company’s Board of Directors declared a regular quarterly dividend of $0.21 per common share. The dividend is payable on February 19, 2020, to stockholders of record on February 5, 2020.
In March 2019, the Company announced that, through its subsidiary, West Bank, it was initiating a growth strategy in three new Minnesota markets and has since opened full service branch offices in Owatonna, Mankato and St. Cloud, Minnesota. The financial results of 2019 have been impacted by compensation, occupancy and equipment costs, professional fees and business development costs related to this growth strategy, which totaled approximately $2.8 million on a pretax basis in 2019. The estimated pretax net interest income from loans and deposits and related fee income in these markets was approximately $1.1 million in 2019.
“We continue to successfully execute on our strategic priorities and at the same time deliver consistently strong financial results,” commented Dave Nelson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company. “Despite the additional expenses in 2019 from our investment in opening branches in three new markets, the Company still achieved an all-time record for annual earnings. While continued net interest margin compression along with the cost of our expansion have presented financial challenges, we continue to benefit from our ability to manage credit quality and our disciplined approach to expense management.”
Dave Nelson also commented, “Our highly talented bankers in our new Minnesota communities generated over $119 million in loan originations in those markets in 2019. We are starting to see positive financial results from this expansion, and the results confirm our commitment to building shareholder value. We are beginning the new year with a positive return on our investment in our expanded markets which we believe will contribute to increased earnings in 2020.”
For more information contact:
Doug Gulling, Executive Vice President, Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer (515) 222-2309